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California exports increase from 2008, breaking a streak

January 12, 2010 | 10:20 am


For the first time since October 2008, the value of California's monthly exports increased slightly from the same period the year before.

The state shipped $10.95 billion in goods abroad in November 2009, up 1.9% from the $10.75 billion the state shipped in November 2008, according to a University of California Center Sacramento analysis of data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department. 

But this uptick pales in comparison with national data. Overall U.S. exports increased by 11.1% in the same period, said Jock O'Connell, international trade and economics advisor at the center.

"We're peeking around an important corner here, not fully turning it," he said.

The real increase in exports came from agricultural and non-manufactured products, which jumped by 29.8% from November 2008. Exports of manufactured goods from California were down 2.1%. 

The export picture continues to favor Northern California, O'Connell said, indicating that region might fare better in a recovery. The number of loaded shipping containers leaving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was up 11.4% in November from the same period the year before. But loaded shipping containers sailing from the Port of Oakland increased 39.7%.

Consumption is still slow as well: $25.1 billion in foreign goods entered California in November, down 8.2% from November 2008. 

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Container ships at the Port of Long Beach. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times